Mark Godfrey

Contributing Editor

Mark Godfrey is an Irish journalist covering the agriculture and fisheries sectors in Asia, with a focus on China. Proficient in Mandarin, he has frequently traveled across China's fisheries and aquaculture regions and learned the inner workings of China's corporate world during a nearly three-year stint at the Financial Times' “China Confidential” publication. He has also reported widely across Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union. He has educational certificates in agriculture and food science, as well as Mandarin.

Published on
February 5, 2013

Dining revenues are down by as much as 50 percent in the past month at the Hilton Wangfujing in Beijing’s government district, according to Randolph Ng, the hotel’s executive chef. Chinese New Year, which falls this weekend, is typically a peak season for five-star hotels in Beijing, but this year the Hilton is scrambling to make up for lost business by looking to other sources of revenue, such as external catering.

A much-vaunted squeeze on

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Published on
February 5, 2013

The Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC) has blown past rivals in China’s Twitter world, with 110,000 followers on the wildly popular Weibo microblogging site. That’s more than double the followers for second-most followed seafood micro blogs in the country: 50,000 and 30,000 followers respectively for seafood restaurant chain Aomen Dulou and aquaculture producer/processor Homey.

A high use of smartphones in China has revolutionized the

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Published on
January 31, 2013

Climate change, illegal fishing and the early mortality syndrome (EMS) disease affecting shrimp farms are three priorities for 2013 for the FAO’s senior fisheries officer in Asia.

In an interview with Seafoodsource, Bangkok-based Simon Funge Smith said EMS has caused large losses among shrimp farmers in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. “We don’t know what causes it ... we don’t know if it’s a disease or something that comes from

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Published on
January 30, 2013

Worries about frugality appear to be overstated as Chinese seafood restaurants brace for their busiest period, Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival). A well-publicized call last month by China’s incoming president Xi Jinping for frugality and cutbacks to notoriously lavish official dining doesn’t appear to be hurting business at numerous seafood restaurants visited by SeafoodSource this week. This year, however, Beijing

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Published on
January 28, 2013

A free trade agreement with China as well as difficulties faced by Norway are both driving imports of Chilean salmon, according to Chile’s chief trade official in Beijing.

“Chinese companies are increasingly flying to Chile seeking salmon supplies,” said Gonzalo Matamala, China representative of ProChile, the Chilean government trade board.

He expects a major ramp-up in shipments of fresh salmon into China from Chile in the first half of

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Published on
January 23, 2013

Recent reforms of the export tax code on aquaculture products in Burma/Myanmar have created opportunities for the country's aquaculture sector, the world’s 12th largest in volume terms, according to an advisor to Burmese aquaculture and aquafeed firms.

Rising regional and global demand for seafood means Burma (officially known as Myanmar) has a good chance to rebuild its tilapia industry while also cultivating export-friendly species like sea

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Published on
January 20, 2013

China’s thriving Internet commerce scene is becoming an increasingly important distribution channel for domestic seafood sales, in some cases cutting out the middle man and allowing producers ship directly to end users. That’s the case for Xia Xinmin, a 25-year old in Houmen, in southerly Guangong province who opened a shop on the eBay-style Taobao.com, part of the Alibaba group founded by Chinese Internet business icon Jack Ma.

Speaking to

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Published on
January 2, 2013

Aside from moving to the commercial capital of Shanghai in January, Norway Seafood Council (NSC)’s China representative Sigmund Bjorgo is planning to up the ante in marketing terms in 2013.

Bjorgo is expecting sales in China will be up 15 percent in 2012 compared to 2010 figures — he doesn’t compare with 2011, given how sales tanked due to newly stringent veterinary inspections faced by Norwegian salmon from February 2011. While 15 percent

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Published on
January 2, 2013

AgriMarine’s China subsidiary celebrated Christmas by introducing its locally produced Pacific salmon to China’s retail market. The firm sees Chinese consumer demand for smaller, Pacific salmon and believes it can capitalize on a lack of in-store marketing by Atlantic salmon suppliers, according to Richard Buchanan, company managing director, speaking to SeafoodSource in Beijing.

 Norway salmon sales have been targeted by an unusually heavy

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Published on
January 1, 2013

Surging Chinese demand and solid U.S. consumption levels means 2013 will be a good year for oysters producers, “if you manage your oysters well,” according to Liu Xin, co-owner at Oregon Oyster Farms. Liu told SeafoodSource his oyster farm can only supply a small amount of the demand from the mainland China market. “We have been getting lots of requests from buyers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai but we don’t have enough oysters, but

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